Terms to Know: Managing Skin Complications

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by the WoundSource Editors

Cellulitis: Inflammation of the skin and subcutaneous tissues usually caused by acute infection.

Epidermis: the outer layer of the skin, which is the protective layer against the outside elements.

Epithelialization: the growth of the epidermis over a wound during the remodeling stage.

Granulation: condition occurring in a full-thickness wound where the growth of small vessels and connective tissue forms “scaffolding” as the wound rebuilds.

Incontinence-associated dermatitis: Inflammation and skin erosion associated with exposure to urine and/or stool.

Infection: an overgrowth of bacteria and microorganisms causing an imbalance in the wound bed that can cause systemic and local signs and symptoms.

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Maceration: condition due to tissue breakdown after exposure to moisture.

Necrosis: tissue death or loss of viability after pressure or injury or disease process.

Partial-thickness: loss of epidermis and partial loss of the dermis.

Periwound skin: Tissue surrounding the wound up to 4cm.

Pressure injury: an area of localized tissue affected by ischemia due to pressure and/or other contributing factors.

Rash or dermatitis: An area of skin that has become swollen, inflamed, or irritated by allergens or repeated irritation of the area.

Skin Tear: A wound caused by shear, friction, and/or blunt force resulting in separation of skin layers that can be either partial-thickness or full-thickness.

Slough: loose necrotic tissue, typically yellow.

Surgical wounds: Entry sites sutured or held together by a margin approximation dressing or device after an operative procedure; complications include infection and dehiscence.

Tensile strength: the strength of the tissue. It is measured by the amount of pressure and force it takes to break the tissue.

Undermining: tissue loss underneath the intact wound margin.

Wound margin: the border around the wound.

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